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Fraternal Order of Police Library of Congress Labor Committee v. Library of Congress

March 4, 2010

FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS LABOR COMMITTEE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On its on behalf and on behalf of its members, the Fraternal Order of Police Library of Congress Labor Committee ("FOP") brings this action against the Library of Congress, James H. Billington in his official capacity as Librarian of Congress, the United States Capitol Police, and the United States Capitol Police Board (collectively "defendants"). The FOP alleges race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and the U.S. Constitution, age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 633a(a), and the U.S. Constitution, and other claims described below. This action arises from the merger of the Library of Congress Police Force ("Library Police") and the United States Capitol Police ("Capitol Police"). Pursuant to the federal statute merging the two forces, officers of the Library Police over a certain age are ineligible to become members, rather than civilian employees, of the Capitol Police.

Before the Court are defendants' "Motion to Dismiss and for a More Definite Statement" [#24], which addresses several of the FOP's claims, and motion for summary judgment [#37], which seeks judgment as to the claims the motion to dismiss does not address. Upon consideration of the motions, the opposition thereto, and the record of this case, the Court concludes that the motion to dismiss should be granted in part and denied in part, the motion for summary judgment should be granted, and the motion for a more definite statement should be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

In January 2008, Congress enacted the "U.S. Capitol Police and Library of Congress Police Merger Implementation Act of 2007" ("Merger Act"). Pub. L. No. 110-178, 121 Stat. 2546 (2008). The Merger Act required transfer of all Library Police employees to the Capitol Police. Id. § 2(a), 121 Stat. at 2546. Officers of the Library Police "shall become either a member or civilian employee of the Capitol Police." Id. § 2(a)(1). To be eligible to become a Capitol Police officer rather than a civilian employee, a Library Police officer must be "entitled to an annuity for immediate retirement" before turning sixty years old, id. § 2(b)(1)(A)(i); in other words, the officer must be able to attain twenty years of service before reaching age sixty, see id.; 5 U.S.C. §§ 8336(b), 8412(b). In addition, an officer must successfully complete training and meet qualifications specified by the Chief of the Capitol Police ("Chief" or "Chief of Police"). Merger Act § 2(b)(1)(A)(ii), (iii).

The Library Police do not have a mandatory retirement age, but a longstanding statutory provision mandates that all members of the Capitol Police "be separated from the service" upon reaching age fifty-seven with a possibility of extension to age sixty. 5 U.S.C. § 8335(c); see also Riggin v. Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, 61 F.3d 1563 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (describing the history of mandatory retirement for federal law enforcement officers and noting that the current provision regarding Capitol Police officers was enacted in 1994 (citing Pub. L. No. 103- 283, § 307, 108 Stat. 1423, 1441-42 (1994))). A Library Police officer who becomes a civilian employee, rather than an officer, of the Capitol Police may continue to serve past the mandatory retirement age if he is not eligible for a retirement annuity upon reaching that age. Merger Act § 2(b)(2), 121 Stat. at 2547.

On June 30, 2008, the FOP-the bargaining unit for the Library Police-filed this suit, and on November 17, 2008, it filed an amended complaint. The amended complaint, which the Court finds notably lacking in organization, contains a variety of allegations in support of claims of discrimination. The Court attempts here to summarize its contents as coherently as possible.

The FOP alleges that eighty-seven percent of Library Police officers are African-American, and fifty-three percent of "the supervisory rank" of the Library Police are African-American. Am. Compl. ¶ 4. Seventy-five percent of Library Police officers are over age 40. In the Capitol Police force, twenty-nine percent of officers and sixteen percent of members of the "supervisory rank" are African-American. Id. ¶ 7.

The FOP alleges that over twenty of its members have been denied the opportunity to attend training that is a prerequisite, pursuant to the Merger Act, of transfer to an officer position with the Capitol Police.*fn1 According to the FOP, Library Police officers over the age of fifty-seven were not permitted to attend this training, and this denial was "based on race and age." Id. ¶¶ 17-18.*fn2

The amended complaint also includes an allegation that defendants "have denied all opportunity for promotion" to Library Police officers, which "preclude[s] those . . . officers accepted into the ranks of [the Capitol Police] from outranking similarly situated [Capitol Police] officers." Id. ¶ 14.

Although the amended complaint appears to allege only one claim under Title VII and one under the ADEA, the Court adopts the parties' understanding of the claims it intends to set forth. Therefore, the Court assumes the FOP alleges that (1) the Merger Act discriminates on the basis of race in violation of Title VII; (2) the Merger Act, on its face and as applied, is racially discriminatory in violation of the U.S. Constitution; (3) the Merger Act discriminates on the basis of age in violation of the ADEA; (4) the Merger Act discriminates on the basis of age in violation of the U.S. Constitution; (5) the Merger Act's provision giving the Chief of the Capitol Police "unreviewable discretion" to determine whether a Library Police officer may become a Capitol Police officer is "arbitrary and capricious"; and (6) the FOP has a cause of action based on the denial of promotions to Library Police officers.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Rule 12(b)(6) Dismissal

Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court may dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."

Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The United States Supreme Court has explained that "the pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (internal citation omitted). A court considering a motion to dismiss ...


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